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'I skipped Rio as my wife was pregnant. No medal tops that' - Lowry

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Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty

Getty Images

Shane Lowry. Photo: Getty

Shane Lowry has revealed that he pulled out of the 2016 Rio Olympics because his wife was five weeks pregnant at the time.

The Open champion admits he got "a lot of stick" for pulling out of the trip to Brazil, citing his fears of contracting the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

Boxer Katie Taylor lashed out at high-profile golfers who opted to stay away four years ago, forcing Ireland to call on Pádraig Harrington and Seamus Power to step in for Lowry and Rory McIlroy.

"Another one bites the dust," she tweeted when Australian Jason Day, then the world No 1, opted to join the likes of Lowry, McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth in pulling out. "I wonder what excuse the golfers would of made if there was no virus."

Lowry cited his family's health as his priority in 2016 and revealed publicly for the first time ahead of his debut in the Saudi International yesterday that he feared for his wife Wendy, who was just five weeks pregnant with their daughter Iris at the time.

Medals

"I did get a lot of stick for it, about the whole Zika virus thing," he said when asked if he would skip another Olympic Games should he qualify. "It was funny, myself and my wife, we had just got married and we were trying for a baby.

"Honestly the day I had to make my decision (on the Olympics), she found out she was pregnant. She was only five weeks pregnant at the time, and we didn't want to take any sort of chance at all. Now we've got a healthy and happy little girl. No Olympic medal can match that."

On the PGA Tour, Jon Rahm is the favourite for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where a win can catapult him to No 1 in the world should Brooks Koepka fail to finish in the top four in Saudi Arabia.

At the Final Stage of the Staysure Tour Qualifying School, Damian Mooney needs to go low in the final round to win one of just five cards at Pestana Golf Resort's Pinta Course. The big-hitting Belfast man made four birdies in a two-under 69 but lies three shots outside the top five in joint 12th place on three-under-par.

Canada's David Morland IV fired a 67 to lead by a shot on 10-under par from Kiwi Michael Long with Scottish amateur Euan McIntosh solo third on eight-under after a 71.

On the Portugal Pro Golf Tour, Dubliner David Carey (23) could not turn his second round 61 into victory, carding a 69 to finish third in the Dom Pedro Victoria Open in Vilamoura, one shot behind Spain's Noemi Jimenez, who edged out Ashton Turner.

  • Saudi International, 8am, Phoenix Open, 8pm, live Sky Sports

Irish Independent